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Get Out: Denali Zipline Tours

By Brett Shepard 7:45 AM June 25, 2014

Talkeetna is best known as the takeoff point for those wanting to climb Denali.

But for those not ready for the adventure of climbing North America’s tallest peak, Talkeetna offers up some less strenuous and dangerous adventures.

James Gaddis and I recently headed north to hang out in the trees around Talkeetna.

“Whenever you do something new it’s scary at first,” said Sandra Loomis, lead guide at Denali Zipline Tours. ”Usually after a couple of zips everybody is like, ‘Wooo!’ having a great time.”

If you have never zipped before, it is a little daunting when you first lay your eyes on the lines way up in the tress. Luckily, if you do have any apprehensions, they ease you into the zips by starting you on a baby zip line.

“We have nine zip lines that graduate, slowly, to faster and longer,” Loomis said. “So it really gives you a chance to get comfortable and then really rip-roar and have fun at the last one.”

About halfway into the tour we came upon some suspension bridges, which were pretty mellow, but in the middle of these was a rappel.

“The rappel is really cool for a lot of people,” Loomis said. “A lot of people haven’t rappelled before, so it’s a brand new experience and it’s a pretty short rappel. It’s only 13 feet, so it’s a really good intro deal.”

“It’s kind of hard to just step off into the great unknown,” said first-time zipper Dani Winter.

Once you get your stomach out of your throat it’s time for the long zips, which end with a big, 600-foot zip over a pond.

“The pond was really cool. Mostly I thought I really hope I don’t fall into it. It looks cold,” said Winter and fellow first-timer Kera Tuttle. “I was so focused on getting to the end I didn’t even notice the pond.”

So, if you are looking to add a little zip to your summer, a venture into the treetops of Talkeetna might be the answer.

Denali Zipline Tours is based in Talkeetna and is the northernmost zip line in the world. The tours are about 3-4 hours in length and cost $149 a person; $119 for kids 10-14 years old.

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